The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) has announced the second phase of its multi-year program to update its highway numbering for interstates and other limited-access highways. In mid-December, RIDOT will be changing exit numbers on two highway segments and providing exits for two others that do not have them. The new exit numbers are keyed to mile markers – a system used throughout the country for many years that the traveling public has now come to expect. Rhode Island and some of its neighboring New England states are among the last to change to this method of numbering its highways, as required by the Federal Highway Administration's Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways. The highway exit numbers traditionally were assigned sequentially. A mile-marker exit number system lets drivers know how far they need to travel to reach their desired off-ramp. It also allows for easier expansion for future interchanges since the entire highway would not have to be renumbered to accommodate a new exit number. RIDOT began this effort last fall with the renumbering of I-295 from Warwick to Cumberland. This fall, the Department will renumber Route 4 in Warwick, East Greenwich and North Kingstown and Route 78 in Westerly. As part of this project, RIDOT also will assign exit numbers for the first time for Route 403 in East Greenwich and North Kingstown and the Airport Connector in Warwick. This project also will upgrade faded and deteriorated guide signage along these routes, as needed. RIDOT will be reaching out to communities, businesses and organizations along these highway corridors to notify them of the change. The Department also will be contacting electronic mapping and GPS companies to inform them of the new exit numbers. More information on the renumbering project, including an interactive map showing the new and old exit numbers, can be found at www.ridot.net/ExitNumbers.
When RIDOT installs the new exit number signs, it will install temporary signs indicating the old exit number and will leave them for an extended period of time. The same approach has been employed by DOTs elsewhere in the country, and the sign design with both new and old numbers is currently in place on I-295.RIDOT is developing schedules for the continued renumbering of highways to a mile-marker system. The project also will address I-95 and I-195, as well as Routes 10, 24 and 37.